iTunes library on an external hard drive?


macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 9, 2003
I'm trying to put my mom's iTunes library on an external hard drive, so it doesn't fill up her 60 GB internal drive. The external drive is called 'ITUNES', and I've copied the entire library over to it, to a folder called 'iTunes music'. Inside that folder are all the folders of the different artists and inside those are her music files.

Problem is, even though I've deleted those music files off her internal drive, and told iTunes Preferences to use the new location, it doesn't see those files. Do I need to drag them from the new location into the iTunes window? Or is there a button or menu item somewhere that will tell it to look on the new drive for the songs?


macrumors 68040
Apr 8, 2004
The following assumes you have the same directory structure in your external drive as you had in your iTunes directory - if not, forget about this.

Open up Terminal and remove the iTunes directory from the Music directory, ie move it using the following (so you can put it back if you make a mistake) - don't forget the dot:
mv Music/iTunes .
Then, create a symlink from the external volume to the Music directory:
ln -s /Volumes/ITUNES Music/iTunes
Then restart iTunes.


macrumors 65816
Aug 5, 2006
In the Depths of the SLC!
If I were you, I would just put all the songs in one big folder, don't keep them organized. The reason for this, if I want to find a specific song, I use the iTunes Library, not the file explorer (Windows and Mac). Or use the Search Bar.

So just put all ur songs in one folder, and make sure you tell iTunes not to organize ur folder, then you stick all those songs on ur external and open iTunes. Go add a new folder to library and look for ur music folder on the external. And it will work from there. Now, keep in mind, you can disconnect that drive and all but make sure you connect it in the exact same USB port, otherwise iTunes won't be able to find all those songs, and you have to clear the whole thing and add everything again.

Another hint, name all the song files according to this scheme, it just makes more sense. When you get a music file, it is usually named by the Artis - Track Name info. Well, the new way, and better way to do this is name it by the Song Name - Artist. So if you had a cool song, then the file would be like this " Goodies - Ciara feat. Petey Pablo " That would be one example, here is another " Lean Back - Fat Joe ". All without quotes.

Sounds like a lot of work to name over 1100 songs (Which I did) But I'm glad I did, cuz it's easier for me to find the songs I want, you rarely search by artist, you search by the title of the song more often then anything else.

Well, I blabbed enough and told you somthing that was beyond the scope of this, but just make sure you have all ur songs in one folder, makes moving things around a whole lot easier.